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The Oswald family at the Furniture Mart, a rifle scope installation in November 1963, and why it matters: a sale of the rifle before the assassination


Greg Doudna
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Well one obvious answer would be that he personally didn't have a car, nor did he plan a "getaway" after the assassination since he didn't shoot the president.   I don't see that as relevant to the possibility of  his "borrowing" a familiar and available car (one which he had actually been driving while getting lessons from Ruth) while she was away.... 

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1 hour ago, Larry Hancock said:

Well one obvious answer would be that he personally didn't have a car

This did not stop him from obtaining a car and driving it to the furniture mart, as Greg asserts he did.

1 hour ago, Larry Hancock said:

nor did he plan a "getaway" after the assassination since he didn't shoot the president.

If he wasn't trying to get away, why didn't he just buy a movie ticket?

1 hour ago, Larry Hancock said:

 I don't see that as relevant to the possibility of  his "borrowing" a familiar and available car (one which he had actually been driving while getting lessons from Ruth) while she was away.... 

My interest right at the moment is more about the Lincoln Mercury test drive and Greg's claim that there were no impersonations of Oswald leading up to the assassination. (I also find the assertion that Oswald drove to the furniture mart dubious as well.)

I re-read Ruth's testimony to the WC. Unless I missed it, her last characterization of Lee's driving ability was "very unskilled". She says she gave him a total of three lessons. On one of those last two lessons, according to Ruth, Lee had trouble just turning the car into the driveway. Now we are supposed to believe/assume that after just one more driving lesson from Ruth at best, Lee was able to test drive an unfamiliar car at high speed on the expressway without incident or appearing as if he couldn't drive in the estimation of an experienced car salesman sitting next to him.

Lesson one: "Very unskilled in driving"

Lesson two or three: Wasn't up to the task of turning into the driveway.

Lincoln Mercury dealership: Able to drive an unfamiliar car for the first time recklessly at high speeds without incident. Witness who was professionally experienced in driving was in the car next to him and thought he could drive.

I find that impossible to believe, but maybe I'm alone on that. I've seen the driveway. It's not a big hill or weird turn. Anyone struggling to turn into that driveway is not skilled at driving.

But, if true and Oswald could indeed drive and drive fast, I still do not understand why he would not have transportation on his mind for after the assassination. He wasn't a shooter, but I haven't heard of anyone who believes he wasn't involved in some level. He was the designated patsy, so certainly he did have a role. Surely he wasn't planning on going to the movies! If he was planning on going to the movies, why not buy a ticket? If he would be willing to "borrow" a vehicle from a family friend - the person that got him his job, the person giving shelter to his wife, child, and baby - for a mundane task, why would he NOT be willing to "borrow" a car from a stranger for what could have been (and ultimately was) a matter of life and death?

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I wasn't commenting about Lincoln Mercury and personally I see that as a totally separate incident - you will have to pursue that one with Greg.  As far as the rest, extending this to the shooting, his behavior afterwards and the theater is also well beyond my comments.  I'd also say  Ruth might be a bit conflicted if at one point she says she was prepared to drive him to test for his license and at another says he had trouble turning into a driveway. 

As I said, I find Greg's line of thinking intriguing and it tackles a couple of problems that have long puzzled me - but that's my view and I'll leave it at that.  Hopefully he will be posting further...

Edited by Larry Hancock
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1 hour ago, Larry Hancock said:

I wasn't commenting about Lincoln Mercury and personally I see that as a totally separate incident - you will have to pursue that one with Greg.  As far as the rest, extending this to the shooting, his behavior afterwards and the theater is also well behind my comments.  I'd also say  Ruth might be a bit conflicted if at one point she says she was prepared to drive him to test for his license and at another says he had trouble turning into a driveway. 

As I said, I find Greg's line of thinking intriguing and it tackles a couple of problems that have long puzzled me - but that's my view and I'll leave it at that.  Hopefully he will be posting further...

I had to laugh out loud, Sir, twice.  "Ruth might be a little conflicted  . . . he had trouble turning into the driveway."

You know better than I Ruth's Warren Commission testimony was more than a little conflicted.

Ozzie, trouble turning into the driveway, when he didn't drive at all per the Warren Omission.  Except for the 80 MPH test drive on Stemmons Freeway.  That made me laugh again.  No disrespect intended, it all gets so deep I have to laugh now and then or go nuts.

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Thanks Larry for the earlier comment, much appreciated.

Denny on your question regarding Lee's ability to drive, Ruth herself testified that Lee drove her car on his own (with Ruth in the car) several blocks to a destination. Ruth did not think he was a very good driver, true, but he could drive, and testimony supports that he could drive (if you accept the testimony of the Furniture Mart women, the Downtown Lincoln Mercury, and indirectly Hutchison, as well as Marina saying his cousin and/or uncle had taught him to drive in New Orleans, and Marina saying she believed he was capable of passing a driving test if he had been tested). And Ruth herself testified firsthand that Lee drove her car several blocks.

I think of it mentally roughly like this. Let us put driving skill on a scale of 0-10, with 10 being the most experienced skilful driving ability. Let us say 3 is what it takes to pass a driving exam, 5 would be a beginning new driver skill level after coming through professional driver training, and 3-4 being a beginning licensed driver from "homemade" driver training from a friend or family member. Average skill level of an experienced driver on the road (>20,000 miles driving experience) 7-8. These are ballpark numbers I am throwing out. 

On this scale Oswald would be about 3. Ruth would put him at maybe 1-2 but that would be a little low compared to his actual ability. The Lincoln Mercury salesman Bogard, if pressed, might say 3-4 if the recklessness was interpreted as caused by inexperience. Marina would maybe put him at about 3. You seem to be citing Ruth's equivalent of 1-2 as if that falsifies all non-Ruth estimates, when it is better to see these estimates with some variability on a spectrum of witnesses, just as witnesses vary on other matters. 

Now you bring up a separate question, something about you argue that Oswald's lack of driving himself away in a car from the TSBD after the assassination is evidence he was not able to drive, because if he could drive, he would have driven away by car rather than by the bus or cab. (If I understand your logic correctly.) That logic assumes more knowledge of Oswald's role in the JFK assassination than I know. I question whether Oswald knew JFK was going to be killed or attempted to be killed out of the TSBD, prior to the fact. Your question assumes certainty that Oswald did have such knowledge prior to the fact. It is clear that after the shots Oswald fled the TSBD (and that it was a rifle traced to him which was on the 6th floor and used in shooting). An alternative reconstruction would have Oswald not having foreknowledge of his rifle's presence in the TSBD, or that shots fired at JFK would come from the TSBD, and upon realizing this, Oswald fled. The reason he would flee on foot, by cab or bus, without confederates in the flight, in this scenario, would be because he did not have access to a car. 

You ask why did Oswald not buy a ticket at the theatre. Well I and some others think he did. It was the killer of Tippit who ran past Brewer's store and Julia Postal's ticket booth into the theatre up into the balcony without buying a ticket, but I argue on a different thread that Brewer's identification of that individual as Oswald was a mistaken identification. Whether Brewer's identification of that individual as Oswald was correct or mistaken is of course contested and you may   feel certain that Brewer's identification was correct, but I do not share such certainty.

But it is not good method to start from a scenario at the end, where there is so much unknown and uncertain, and use that as a premise for a backward-reasoning argument or claim of evidence that Oswald was unable to drive, against the real evidence that he could drive. There is not a single witness that actually supports a conclusion that Oswald literally could not drive--not even Ruth Paine despite the fact she may have said words to that effect, since she testified that she was with him when he drove her car, against her will, several blocks on his own. The only question is where on that 0-10 scale of driving ability/skill he was, and I think the aggregate of the good-quality witness testimony would put it at ca. 3 relative to the pegs on the scale I outlined above. Enough ability to get a car from Point A to Point B in a neighborhood, enough to drive a new car out of a lot for a test drive, but not enough ability to avoid scaring the daylights out of a salesman in the passenger seat when giving it some gas. Anyway that is how I see it.    

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The main problem Oswald had with driving was parallel parking, plus lack of experience. Ruth told of his problem with parallel parking, and then Ruth told of her showing him how, and that he solved it and had learned that. This was in October. I think some people here are not realizing that Ruth herself documented that Oswald went from having difficulty parallel parking, to "getting it" on how to parallel park. This was before Nov 11 when Lee was seen driving Ruth's car while Ruth was gone that day. The incident with the "wide turn" that Ruth Paine told about, which Denny seems to be referring to, occurred on October 13, nearly a month earlier. Lee told Ruth at that time that in New Orleans his uncle let him drive a car on city streets by himself.

Mrs. Paine. There were two occasions when we practiced parking, one in the larger parking lot [Oct 13] just backing into, pretending there were cars there to back between, as in parallel parking, and another occasion directly in front of my house. On this second occasion directly in front of my house he finally learned how to do it. He had had a bad time, getting his wheels too cramped and not getting in, and getting his wheels straightened out, a beginner's mistakes. Finally, I got into the car and told him when to start reversing the twist on his wheel and cramp, and he said, so soon. It was a surprise. It didn't feel to him it was time already to start coming out of the turn. And then he saw that it was when he then got into the parking place correctly, and quite soon got the feel of it but this was clearly his first experience doing it right, and then he practiced doing it right several times, and he learned quite well, I thought.

(. . .)

Mr. Dulles. What progress did he make over that period [Oct 13 to Nov 10]? 

Mrs. Paine. Considerable.

Mr. Dulles. Reasonable progress?

Mrs. Paine. Very reasonable progress. I thought he learned well, as I have said, both backing and to make a right-angle turn, and really began to understand the feeling of parking. 

So by Nov 11 there is nothing implausible about Lee driving to the Furniture Mart, the Irving Sports Shop, or Hutchison's grocery store, all local in Irving. The only question would be with the Downtown Lincoln Mercury test drive on Nov 2, and that involves an evaluation and judgment on whether that was a true Oswald sighting or a mistaken identification. Bogard the salesman remembered writing down the name "Oswald" though the piece of paper was gone. Bogard passed a polygraph examination. Another salesman said Bogard told him the customer (Oswald) had driven like a madman on a rainy morning when the roads were slick. That is second-hand hearsay. With allowance for some florid retelling as salesman tell each other stories of their customers, this could be a version of Oswald's inexperience in driving as experienced by a passenger, rather than an experienced driver purposely driving recklessly. It is known that Oswald was thinking about wanting a car, and was on the verge of getting his driver's license. Saturday Nov 2 is when the date was securely set by another salesman, and on Sat Nov 2 it rained, the only time it rained that day, in the 8-10 am time frame. I think therefore the story hangs together as having been Oswald. The alternative would be Bogard confused some similar-sounding name of a customer unrelated to Oswald, and the perceived problem in driving ability is removed. It looks to me like it was Oswald and no actual contradiction in driving ability. But however one judges the Downtown Lincoln Mercury, there is no problem on grounds of Oswald's driving ability in itself in Oswald's ability to drive to the Furniture Mart or to Hutchison's market on Nov 11. There is no need to overthink this. Ruth Paine's testimony is not conflicted outside the range of normal good-quality witness testimony description from point of view. She told both of his earlier difficulty with parallel parking and his learning curve in which he learned how to do it and could now do that, all before the date at issue, Nov 11. And there are many licensed drivers on the roads today, satisfactory and safe drivers, who still struggle with parallel parking--considered the last and most difficult necessary driving skill to learn. 

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On 11/30/2021 at 4:46 AM, Denny Zartman said:

Do you think Oswald was practicing rifle shooting during the time he allegedly owned the rifle?

I do. Without question.  Remember how LHO's closest friend (George DeM) described  LHO: that Oswald was "an actor in real life." I agree with that description, which (IMHO) was rather astute.   I have no problem with Oswald fooling around with the rifle, or practicing. None of this is inconsistent with his not --I repeat not --being JFKs assassin.  This area cannot be divorced from another: LHO being an undercover agent who's assignment was to be a "pretend assassin"; i.e., appear to be a possible assassin.  (DSL 12/21/21 5 PM PST; 6 PM)

Edited by David Lifton
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19 hours ago, Greg Doudna said:

Thanks Larry for the earlier comment, much appreciated.

Denny on your question regarding Lee's ability to drive, Ruth herself testified that Lee drove her car on his own (with Ruth in the car) several blocks to a destination. Ruth did not think he was a very good driver, true, but he could drive, and testimony supports that he could drive (if you accept the testimony of the Furniture Mart women, the Downtown Lincoln Mercury, and indirectly Hutchison, as well as Marina saying his cousin and/or uncle had taught him to drive in New Orleans, and Marina saying she believed he was capable of passing a driving test if he had been tested). And Ruth herself testified firsthand that Lee drove her car several blocks.

I think of it mentally roughly like this. Let us put driving skill on a scale of 0-10, with 10 being the most experienced skilful driving ability. Let us say 3 is what it takes to pass a driving exam, 5 would be a beginning new driver skill level after coming through professional driver training, and 3-4 being a beginning licensed driver from "homemade" driver training from a friend or family member. Average skill level of an experienced driver on the road (>20,000 miles driving experience) 7-8. These are ballpark numbers I am throwing out. 

On this scale Oswald would be about 3. Ruth would put him at maybe 1-2 but that would be a little low compared to his actual ability. The Lincoln Mercury salesman Bogard, if pressed, might say 3-4 if the recklessness was interpreted as caused by inexperience. Marina would maybe put him at about 3. You seem to be citing Ruth's equivalent of 1-2 as if that falsifies all non-Ruth estimates, when it is better to see these estimates with some variability on a spectrum of witnesses, just as witnesses vary on other matters. 

Now you bring up a separate question, something about you argue that Oswald's lack of driving himself away in a car from the TSBD after the assassination is evidence he was not able to drive, because if he could drive, he would have driven away by car rather than by the bus or cab. (If I understand your logic correctly.) That logic assumes more knowledge of Oswald's role in the JFK assassination than I know. I question whether Oswald knew JFK was going to be killed or attempted to be killed out of the TSBD, prior to the fact. Your question assumes certainty that Oswald did have such knowledge prior to the fact. It is clear that after the shots Oswald fled the TSBD (and that it was a rifle traced to him which was on the 6th floor and used in shooting). An alternative reconstruction would have Oswald not having foreknowledge of his rifle's presence in the TSBD, or that shots fired at JFK would come from the TSBD, and upon realizing this, Oswald fled. The reason he would flee on foot, by cab or bus, without confederates in the flight, in this scenario, would be because he did not have access to a car. 

You ask why did Oswald not buy a ticket at the theatre. Well I and some others think he did. It was the killer of Tippit who ran past Brewer's store and Julia Postal's ticket booth into the theatre up into the balcony without buying a ticket, but I argue on a different thread that Brewer's identification of that individual as Oswald was a mistaken identification. Whether Brewer's identification of that individual as Oswald was correct or mistaken is of course contested and you may   feel certain that Brewer's identification was correct, but I do not share such certainty.

But it is not good method to start from a scenario at the end, where there is so much unknown and uncertain, and use that as a premise for a backward-reasoning argument or claim of evidence that Oswald was unable to drive, against the real evidence that he could drive. There is not a single witness that actually supports a conclusion that Oswald literally could not drive--not even Ruth Paine despite the fact she may have said words to that effect, since she testified that she was with him when he drove her car, against her will, several blocks on his own. The only question is where on that 0-10 scale of driving ability/skill he was, and I think the aggregate of the good-quality witness testimony would put it at ca. 3 relative to the pegs on the scale I outlined above. Enough ability to get a car from Point A to Point B in a neighborhood, enough to drive a new car out of a lot for a test drive, but not enough ability to avoid scaring the daylights out of a salesman in the passenger seat when giving it some gas. Anyway that is how I see it.    

DSL NOTE:  Re "There is not a single witness that actually supports a conclusion that Oswald literally "could not drive":  Agreed.  And keep in mind the incident where Oswald showed up at Lincoln Mercury, and test drove a car --at "freeway speed."  (Clearly indicating he was in the market to buy a car.) Then, there is the visit to the furniture store.  (Sylvia Meagher has a good writeup on this in her book Accessories After The Fact).  IMHO: the issue goes significantly beyond the question of whether "Oswald could drive."  Between seeking to purchase furniture, and intending to buy a car-- these two incidents speak to Oswald's "state of mind."  IMHO: they reveal that Oswald believed he would soon be "coming into money." 

Edited by David Lifton
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Part 3 of 3. An alternative mechanism for Oswald's rifle to have gotten inside the Texas School Book Depository

My argument here follows in key ways, with modifications, an analysis of Philip de May in two books, Cold Case Kennedy (2013) and The Lee Harvey Oswald Files (2015). De May takes up in turn three propositions, all three of which must be correct for Oswald to be guilty of the assassination of JFK:

  • The Carcano that was found is Oswald's Carcano
  • Shots that were fired at Kennedy were fired from that Carcano
  • The shots that were fired from that Carcano were fired by Oswald

De May argues that the first two propositions are correct but that the third is not, on the basis of evidence and argument. The main difference between the two books is that in the first (2013) he incorrectly argued the Carcano in the Backyard Photos was not the same Carcano on the sixth floor of the TSBD, and proposed use of a sabot by a shooter to account for the bullets' match to the Carcano. In his second book (2015) de May corrects that, showing that the Carcano of the BYP is the Carcano of the sixth floor. In the second book de Mary argues that only the notion of Oswald bringing a disassembled rifle into the TSBD and assembling it that morning makes accurate shooting unlikely, that the Carcano fully-assembled and sighted in was capable of accurate shooting by a good marksman. However, bringing the Carcano in to the TSBD fully assembled rules out Oswald as the mechanism for the Carcano entering the TSBD. Therefore de May ends up arriving by different line of argument to the same conclusion I argue here: that the rifle entered the TSBD before Fri Nov 22, not from Oswald, even though it had been his rifle. 

"Based on the analysis of the facts, we can confirm the first two items. There were indeed shots from the sniper's nest, and they were more than likely fired with the Carcano. But, objectively speaking, we must conclude that the claim that Oswald was the gunman is contrary to the findings. All the objective elements we have investigated point in the same direction: Oswald did not fire the Carcano himself, and he was not at the crime scene [6th floor]. The fact that this assumption is quite outrageous is not a valid counter-argument. Anyone who wants to disregard this conclusion must rebut, in detail and with reference to the source, the answers we have provided to the seven questions in the section headed 'Could Oswald have shot with the Carcano?" (. . .) The most surprising finding is the answer to question 2 above: the shots were fired with the Carcano. This answer interrelates with the assumption that the Carcano was brought into the building assembled and perfectly adjusted. This cancels out the otherwise insurmountable questions regarding the precarious reassembly, the lack of fingerprints, the questionable accuracy of the weapon and the insufficient length of the package Oswald had with him that morning [sic: is concluded by the Warren Commission to have had that morning]. The above leads to the unexpected conclusion that the Carcano was indeed used for the shots, but that it was not Oswald who took the shots. This possibility has never before been considered by the conspiracists. Those who don't believe in Oswald's guilt felt compelled to run with the pack and cry out that the Carcano is an unreliable weapon, but the facts contradict this. Oswald was at best a mediocre shot, but the Carcano is not that bad if it is properly adjusted. That precludes that the Carcano entered the building disassembled. If the Carcano was indeed smuggled into the building in twelve pieces, the conspiracists are right in saying that the weapon was unusable for the assassination. (. . .) The main intention behind the use of the Carcano could then have been to point directly towards Oswald, the scapegoat." (The Lee Harvey Oswald Files, pp. 115-116).

In Parts 1 and 2 I have argued that both the Furniture Mart and Irving Sports Shop sightings of Lee and Marina, and Lee getting a scope installed on the Carcano, happened on Nov 11, 1963. I argued that the scope was a reinstallation of the same scope that came with the rifle from Klein's, which Lee had taken off, stripped the threads, then wanted reinstalled which would be for the purpose of a sale or conveyance restored to the condition in which he bought it. The reason for taking the scope off is comprehensible (because the scope was crap) and the reason for putting it back on indicates a purpose of resale not personal use.

If we get to this point, in which Lee has a scoped Carcano in Ruth Paine's garage on Nov 11, there seem to be only three possibilities for how that Carcano would get into the TSBD on Nov 22:

  • Lee took the rifle into Dallas and then Oak Cliff on Tue Nov 12, broken down in a paper bag, and some time prior to Nov 22 conveyed that rifle to another party, who took the rifle into the TSBD.
  • The rifle remained in Ruth Paine's garage until the night of Thu Nov 21, and Lee took the broken-down rifle in to the TSBD on Fri morning in a paper bag. 
  • Someone broke into Ruth Paine's garage surreptitiously and stole the rifle out of that garage some time between Nov 11 and Nov 22 and took the rifle into the TSBD, before Lee had a chance to sell it.

For reasons brought out by de May there are serious improbabilities for the second of these (the WC interpretation), and it is the first above which is argued here.

What happened next, after Nov 11

If Oswald removed the rifle from Ruth Paine's garage, he either did it on Nov 12 with his ride with Wesley Frazier into Dallas, or on Nov 22 with his ride with Wesley Frazier into Dallas. Lee was not in Irving any other times in between, so it had to be one of those two dates. Since he did not take the rifle in on Fri morning Nov 22 (per argument), it will have been Tue Nov 12. 

The specifics are conjectural but Oswald presumably would have broken down the rifle again (nullifying the sighting he was charged for at the Irving Sports Shop, $1.50 wasted on that), put it into a bag of some kind, and carried it with him to work Tue morning Nov 12. Where it was during Lee's workday Nov 12 unknown, but that night he takes it home on the bus with him to the rooming house in Irving, where it remains, inside some kind of wrapping, hidden in a closet or under his bed, until Thu Nov 21 when he sold or conveyed it.

A possibility is that not only the rifle, but the paper bag taken into evidence on the 6th floor also, came from Oswald but did not come from Oswald on Fri Nov 22 (the paper bag coming from paper from the TSBD taken by Oswald earlier prior to Nov 11). This could account for blanket fibers and partial palmprints of Oswald on the paper bag.

A minor objection may be that Wesley Frazier never said anything about Lee carrying a package of that nature on Tue Nov 12. However first, Frazier was not specifically asked about that, and second, Frazier also did not remember ever taking Lee in to work on a Tuesday at all in his testimony (he claimed it was only Fridays and Mondays, except for sole exception Thu Nov 21); did not remember in his WC testimony what he later did remember concerning seeing Lee walk away from the TSBD after the assassination; did not remember seeing Lee as Prayer Man nearby on the steps; did not volunteer in his WC testimony the man carrying a rifle walk by the front of the TSBD that he says in his book he saw while after the assassination. 

That Lee did take the rifle from Irving in to Dallas on Tue Nov 12, and then to his rooming house in Oak Cliff that day, is indicated from independent grounds that Lee conveyed the rifle in Oak Cliff on Thu Nov 21.

Conveyance of the rifle on Thu Nov 21

As brought out elsewhere, the argument for this is the juxtaposition in timing of ca. 10 am for Oswald witnessed at the Dobbs House restaurant on Beckley near his rooming house, whereas at ca. 10:30 am the same day a hitchhiker was picked up by Ralph Yates at the Beckley freeway entrance in Oak Cliff, proximity to the Dobbs House, carrying a rifle-sized package, and dropped off at the corner of Houston and Elm, right next to the TSBD. The juxtaposition in the timing (10 and 10:30 am from independent witness testimonies, and immediate locational proximity) is the coincidence lending strength to both of these witness testimonies being substantial.

On the timing, in each case there is uncertainty among witnesses concerning whether it was Wed or Thursday. However the Thursday date is nailed down by an invoice at Ralph Yates' place of employment for a Thursday service call in Irving, which Yates went to after dropping off his hitchhiker that morning. Therefore it was Thursday Nov 21.

In addition to the timing and locational juxtapositions backing up the witness testimonies of the Dobbs House/Yates' hitchhiker connection, there is the additional argument that somehow Oswald's rifle did get from his possession into the TSBD by Fri Nov 22, and this is a known alternative to the conventional focus on Friday morning for that conveyance, with all of the incongruities that are raised there. In other words, the rifle got from Oswald into the TSBD in some way between Nov 11 and Nov 22, and the only issue is how. In terms of known choices it is either Nov 21 (LHO --> Yates' hitchhiker --> TSBD Thu night) or Nov 22 (LHO --> TSBD/assassin).

Mechanism of rifle getting into TSBD without anyone noticing

With Oswald on Friday morning this is a difficulty: how could he bring in a rifle in a paper bag into the TSBD and not one single person saw him with a rifle-sized paper bag inside the TSBD, or carrying it to the sixth floor, assembling it with or without a screwdriver, and aiming accurately without sighting it in.

Whereas every daytime employee who worked in the TSBD was questioned concerning whereabouts, alibi, and did they see or notice anyone or anything unusual in the building that day, one set of persons with full access to the building for whom I am not aware of any record of having been interviewed or questioned is the after-hours janitorial crew. Keys and access to the entire building Thursday night. No one even knows the names of these invisible custodians. As someone at the TSBD said, anything at all could have gone in and out of that building Thursday night. And no one was ever asked or investigated or inquiry made on that. (There was probably deemed no need to do so, since with Oswald they "had their man", therefore Thursday night building access was not an issue of any law enforcement interest.)

So the difficulty of getting the Carcano (or any other rifle, but the Carcano is the rifle that was found) into the TSBD is only an incongruity during daylight working hours. After-hours, after dark, it is as simple as having access to the building via some infiltration or assistance of someone on a night janitorial crew. A complete black hole of information, never investigated, with respect to the TSBD and Thursday night. 

Nighttime infiltration of the rifle into the TSBD would also be a viable time for a shooter himself to enter the building, prepare the sniper's nest, go to some innocuous spot on the 7th floor or roof and wait unseen until the appropriate time around 12:25 pm Friday. This eliminates all the complicated puzzles over how a shooter or shooters could get into the building on Friday without being seen.

After the shooting, de May makes the point that whoever the shooter was took time to wipe off fingerprints, unlike the conventional narrative in which Oswald shoots and flees immediately with no time to wipe off fingerprints. There is other evidence that after the shooting the shooter did not flee right away. The three workers on the 5th floor heard no running on the floor above and heard no one running down the stairs, no one lower on the stairs saw or heard anyone running down the stairs afterward, and there are those two photos after the shooting which appear to show evidence that someone moved boxes in the 6th floor window after the shots were fired, instead of running immediately. All of this is consistent with a reconstruction in which the shooter was not Oswald but remained on the upper floor levels until descending down the stairs assumed to be a law enforcement person. So there is no need to conjecture elevators and accomplices, or Dougherty or other workers as accomplices, etc. Everybody, except possibly somebody corrupt or planted on the night janitorial crew whose name we will never know, in the TSBD may be innocent! 

In this reconstruction the Yates' hitchhiker's rifle-sized package on Thursday morning carried Oswald's Carcano. The rifle was broken-down. After both the hitchhiker and the Carcano were dropped off at Houston and Elm, late morning Thu, there is time for the rifle to be assembled and sighted in, then rifle and shooter into the TSBD Thursday night, prior to a successful assassination the next day (unlike Chicago and Tampa where similar m.o. attempts failed).

The paper bag found on the 6th floor

Oswald's paper bag Friday morning

In this scenario, Oswald is involved in something in the runup to the assassination (the Mexico City trip suggests as much) but, per present hypothesis, has no idea that an assassination of JFK is planned. I realize there are many theories on how much Oswald knew. The bottom line is, nobody knows whether Oswald had foreknowledge--it is all scenario reconstruction. Oswald's foreknowledge can be argued pro and con. There is certainly no unequivocal positive evidence that Oswald had foreknowledge. As I see it, the only way a conveyance of his rifle to what may or may not have been shady characters on Thu Nov 21 makes sense if he had no clue it would be used in an assassination of the president the next day. (This was in the midst of hunting season, there was lots of non-assassination gunrunning happening, etc. Therefore a sale of a rifle with a scope the day before a president's visit would not necessarily in itself raise any eyebrows. For example, the two new hunting rifles Castor bought on his lunch hour and showed inside the TSBD on Wed Nov 20.) 

The no-clue hypothesis would account for the total lack of getaway arrangements, his lack of money or preparation, but it would also account for if he heard the shots and put something together and realized he had been set up (and not simply set up for legal criminal conviction, but in imminent danger of being killed at any moment as a "dead" patsy), and went into flight-and-escape mode, escaping the cold-blooded Mob types assumed to have carried out the assassination more than fearing law enforcement. (It has occurred to me that one reason Oswald punched officer MacDonald in the face and resisted arrest in the Texas Theatre, which was not objectively a very rational thing to do, could to ensure that he would be arrested, as a personal safety strategy from being killed.)

With that as background, the paper bag on Friday morning. Leonard Hutchison of Hutchison's Market in Irving, within walking distance of Ruth Paine's house, recalled Oswald coming in at 7-7:30 am several times to buy "milk, bread, and cinnamon rolls". On Friday Nov 22, Marina said Lee had nothing for breakfast at Ruth Paine's house except coffee. Lee's job at the TSBD was physical work requiring energy. Lee going to work in the morning at the TSBD on coffee alone is not realistic. A reconstruction would be Oswald left the Ruth Paine house that morning after his coffee, walked to Hutchison's Market and bought milk and French bread or equivalent, and had a long narrow brown paper bag from the bread. He had his cheese sandwich and fruit for lunch in his jacket pocket which he then transferred to the paper bag. Then he walked to Wesley Frazier's house, arriving there a couple of minutes before Wesley was ready to go. Having arrived a little early, he put his bag in Wesley's car.

Wesley said Lee's paper bag was a regular light-paper brown ordinary grocery shopping bag. Oswald always carried a sack lunch all other days. Oswald told his interrogators after his arrest that that was his lunch that day. Oswald never denied the length or size of the bag, just saying he used whatever size he had. Wesley described how the Dallas police separated him from his sister Linnie and had each of them repeatedly estimate the size. The size mattered because the broken-down Carcano required a minimum of 34" length. Wesley was insistent that Lee's bag was only about 24-25", significantly too small to hold the Carcano. Wesley insisted Lee held the bag by cupping his hand underneath the bottom of the bag, and the top did not come up higher than his armpit, inconsistent with 34". Linne Mae testified she saw Lee out the window of her house holding the top of the bag with one hand and the bottom of the bag was not hitting the ground, again inconsistent with 34". 

It was a simple bread bag, estimated by Wesley to be maybe 6" x 24", a common size of bread bag even today. 

When Oswald got to the TSBD and ate his lunch the bag would have been thrown away, end of story for that bag. 

Wesley Frazier was taken in for questioning and that Friday night shown the 37" brown paper bag associated with the rifle on the 6th floor, and despite pressure and duress, told Capt. Fritz it definitely was not the bag Lee carried Fri morning, and Wesley's insistence held up under polygraph examination. 

Oswald's paper bag carrying his lunch was not the 37" bag associated with the Carcano, and that it was longer and narrower than a normal paper bag for a sack lunch was simple accident as a result of his stop at Hutchison's Market that morning. There was no rifle in it, he was not trying to incriminate himself by making anyone think there was a rifle. Oswald was known, including by Wesley, for not talking much. When Wesley said Lee said curtain rods were in the bag, that may have been a misunderstanding of Wesley, which he assumed and interpreted a noncommittal answer from Lee as if it was confirmation. Oswald himself said some things to his interrogators after his arrest that were not truthful, related to the rifle, but one thing Oswald said that may not have been untruthful was not only that the bag contained his lunch, but his denial that he told Wesley there were curtain rods in it. He may have told Wesley "curtain rods" was the reason he went out to Irving to see Marina on a Thursday night. He may have told Wesley a bag which in fact contained his rifle was "curtain rods" at an earlier time (such as Nov 12). But he was not carrying either the rifle or curtain rods Fri morning, but his lunch. 

Identity of the hitchhiker who obtained Oswald's Carcano

The most economical explanation is that the hitchhiker who obtained Oswald's Carcano on Thu Nov 21, was Larry Crafard. That would explain the mistaken identification of the hitchhiker, by Yates, as Oswald himself, in light of known confusion of identities of Crafard for Oswald in other cases. It would explain the hitchhiker asking Yates in passing if he had ever serviced the Carousel Club or knew Jack Ruby. (The question of some relevance because if the answer was "yes", it might affect matters for Yates.) It would agree with Crafard not having a car and hitchhiking. It would agree with Crafard, if he were the buyer of the Carcano from Oswald on an occasion at which Tippit was present, as was the case according to witnesses at the Dobbs' House--Crafard killed Tippit the next day and would have killed Oswald too if not for the police saving Oswald's life from Crafard by arresting Oswald at the Texas Theatre. Crafard as the identity of the Thursday hitchhiker receiving Oswald's rifle could explain how Crafard would recognize both Tippit and Oswald by sight the next day, and perhaps how Tippit could recognize Crafard on 10th in Oak Cliff. However the identity of Yates' hitchhiker as Crafard is not certain. Also, although both Oswald and (separately) Tippit are located at the Dobbs House at the same time Thu morning ca. 10 am, and the hitchhiker with the rifle-sized package caught his ride starting from proximity from the same Beckley Ave, it is not known the details of how the parties met or a handover of the rifle might have occurred exactly (somewhere outside the restaurant out of public view, probably). 

A waitress and cook at the Dobbs House remembered Oswald that morning as making a scene complaining about the way his eggs were cooked. This seems uncharacteristic of Oswald, who was normally quiet and mannerly. Although it is in the realm of conjecture, making a scene like that could be a way to signal one's presence or identity if meeting someone not previously familiar by sight. It also could serve to establish memory in other restaurant patrons of presence or alibi. 

To suggest that Oswald was clueless regarding the JFK assassination is not to say Oswald was not mixed up in some things--only that in the particular event of the JFK assassination, he may not have seen that one coming. But he made a perfect patsy. All that needed to be done was have the rifle connected to him. That Oswald ended up being accused of being the shooter, and not simply the owner of the rifle, may have been an accident. 

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On 12/21/2021 at 10:44 PM, Denny Zartman said:

Then wouldn't he be expected to have some ammunition and/or rifle cleaning and maintenance equipment among his possessions?

No one has ever been able to answer that one. The Warren Report didn't even try. The rifle was linked to the bullet --CE 399. That bullet was not fired at the motorcade. It was fired from the rifle previously.  I can't be the only one who wonders how the FBI managed to 'trace' that rifle so quickly ...implicating Oswald before the evening of the 22nd ever drew to a close.

Quote

Mr. JENNER. Were you aware in the fall of 1963, that the man we now know as Lee Harvey Oswald was visiting in the Paine home on weekends?
Mr. HUTCHISON. I couldn't--I couldn't say that he was visiting there. All I can say, Mr. Jenner, is that he came into the store and bought items like what I remember so vividly is that it was milk and cinnamon rolls early in the morning.
Mr. JENNER. Milk and cinnamon rolls?
Mr. HUTCHISON. Yes, sir; in the morning--early. When you're not busy in...

Perhaps it is still not too late to ask Wes Frazier if he ever stopped off at that store on occasion when he was taking Lee to work with him so Oswald could run in and get a roll and milk for breakfast.  We know that Lee liked and kept milk on hand at the rooming house.

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Again on the Nov 11, 1963 date, Ruth Paine's testimony, WC 9, 395-96:

"Mr. Jenner. Is it your opinion, based on your recollections of all of the association of Lee Oswald with you and at your home, that it could not have been possible for him to have taken a weapon, such as the rifle involved here, to any range, shooting range, sportsdrome, gun range, or otherwise, on any occasion when he was in Irving, Tex., residing or staying as a guest in your home?

"Mrs. Paine. The only time when he was there and I was away long enough for him to have gone somewhere and come back, and I now know that I can recall was Monday, the 11th of November. I have described my presence at the home on the 9th and 10th. And to the best of my recollection, there was no long period of time that I was away from the home when he was there. I may also say that there is no way of getting from my home unless you walk or have someone drive you."

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22 hours ago, Karl Hilliard said:

No one has ever been able to answer that one.

They can answer it, they just don't want to.

Over the past ten years I've had the opportunity to discuss the JFK assassination on other websites, and there are invariably half a dozen folks with extensive experience with rifles and target shooting chiming in with their opinions on how it was an easy shot from the sixth window, how Oswald was actually good with a rifle, ect.

But when I point out that Oswald had no other rifle ammunition or rifle cleaning equipment among his possessions and ask if that's the usual state of affairs with themselves or their rifle enthusiast friends, there's never any reply at all. Now, maybe I've walked between the raindrops and just by chance every person whom I've asked has been unable to reply for unrelated reasons, but let's get real.

If Oswald was practicing with his rifle on a regular basis he would have rifle ammunition and rifle cleaning equipment among his possessions. Instead he's apparently assembling and disassembling and maintaining his rifle with only a dime, and that he was practicing target shooting regularly without ever cleaning or even oiling down his rifle, and was literally down to his last four rifle bullets that morning.

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